by Hannah Jayne
To be published on July 2, 2013
By Sourcebooks Fire
Source: e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. Please see my FTC disclosure on right sidebar.
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Summary from Goodreads: Sawyer Dodd has it all. She's a star track athlete, choir soloist, and A-student. And her boyfriend is the handsome all-star Kevin Anderson. But behind the medals, prom pictures, and perfect smiles, Sawyer finds herself trapped in a controlling, abusive relationship with Kevin. When he dies in a drunk-driving accident, Sawyer is secretly relieved. She's free. Until she opens her locker and finds a mysterious letter signed by "an admirer" and printed with two simple words: "You're welcome."
Buzzwords: serial killer, secret admirer, guilty pleasure, Pretty Little Liars meets Lifetime TV.
My take: As a lifelong fan of mysteries, I appreciate all types -- the dark, twisted psychological thrillers, the grim police procedurals and even the tamer "cozies." Truly, Madly, Deadly is a book that is to the mystery genre what one of those Lifetime TV "woman in jeopardy" movies is to television: a guilty pleasure that's also pretty entertaining.
If you like your mysteries on the literary or psychological side, then Truly, Madly, Deadly may not be the book for you. The characters and setting could have been much more developed. Sawyer, the protagonist, spends most of her time fainting, throwing up, or making out with a hot guy she's only just met. Sawyer also cries a lot, but not damsel-in-distress crying -- serious ugly-crying. Because I was reading on a Kindle with a search function, I can tell you that variations of the phrase "snot and tears" are used four times. Someone hand this poor girl a tissue!
The book's plot consists mostly of the Sawyer learning that someone close to her has died under mysterious circumstances or finding creepy, threatening notes. I guessed the identity of the killer pretty easily. The story does touch on some serious issues -- bullying, domestic abuse, sexual harassment, class differences, suicide -- but not in any kind of serious way. Truly, Madly, Deadly is clearly not trying to be an "issue book."
But Truly, Madly, Deadly does offer up some very funny dialogue, a fair amount of suspense, and a creepy, campy premise: a hapless protagonist with a mysterious and possibly crazy secret admirer. If you love that kind of thing, then I think you'll find Truly, Madly, Deadly to be a fun, fast-paced summer read.